The Last of the Mohicans

by James Fenimore Cooper

Hardcover, 1965

Call number

FIC COO

Collection

Genres

Publication

INTERNATIONAL BOOK COMPANY (1965), Edition: Nd (ca. 1960s)

Description

The tale of a Mohican brave's struggle to protect two English girls from an evil Huron.

Media reviews

… The book was first published in 1826, and conveys the prejudices of the time. This is primarily an adventure story written from a European viewpoint. The "dusky, savage" Huron kidnappers are the villains, and the Mohicans are stereotypically romanticized as courageous and stoic. However, even complimentary comments sometimes indicate underlying prejudice as when… scout Hawkeye observes to Chingachgook, "You are a just man for an Indian." The term "squaw" is used several times.

User reviews

LibraryThing member snat
If time travel were possible, I'd go back in time and assassinate James Fenimore Cooper before he ever put pen to paper (in this imaginary scenario, let it be known that I also possess mad ninja skills). Why do I hate Cooper so much? Let me count the ways:

1) His never-ending description of every rock, twig, river, etc., that the main characters come into contact with. No pebble escapes his scrutiny. This book would have been 3 pages long without the description. And even then, it would have been 3 pages too long.

2) Native American dialogue is limited to the occasional exclamation of "Hugh." Not Hugh as in Hefner, but something more like "huh." They're a quiet people, apparently. I'm shocked they don't greet each other by saying, "How."

2 1/2) While we're on the subject, they're all stereotypes of either the noble savage variety or the "me big chief Ugh-a-Mug gotta have 'em squaw" variety. The whole thing is a racist piece of crap. And don't tell me that Cooper was reflecting the beliefs of the time because, while that may explain the racism, it doesn't explain away the crap bit.

3) Practically every speech by Hawk-eye will contain some bit of dialogue such as, "Even though white blood runs through my veins." Lest we forget he's white since he's been hobnobbing with the natives for so long.

4) Those damn women just keep getting kidnapped.

5) For an action story, it's mind-numbingly boring. To illustrate, I give you a riveting, action packed scene in which Duncan, the British officer, tries to distract le Renard Subtil (also known as Magua, also known as Wes Studi in the film) with a discussion of French etymology. Dash cunning of him, don't you think? It sure would have sucked if he had just attacked him with a knife, a gun, or even a rapier wit. Apparently Duncan's plan was to wear down his enemy with sheer boredom:

'Here is some confusion in names between us, le Renard,' said Duncan, hoping to provoke a discussion. 'Daim is the French for deer, and cerf for stag; elan is the true term, when one would speak of an elk.'

6) Everyone is known by about three or four different names, because anything less would have been confusing. Right, Coop?

7) Did I mention that it's just frickin' boring? I would rather slam my head in a car door than ever read this book again.

The best part about the book was that there were entire sections in French. For once, lack of knowledge about a foreign language has paid off! I was practically giddy with excitement when I encountered entire pages of French dialogue as it meant, mon Dieu!, I got to skip the entire page.
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LibraryThing member euqubud
When Michael Mann completed Last of the Mohicans, it was delayed for three months (and out of the profitable summer season) as someone introduced to him the concept of editing. Having trimmed the movie from three hours to less than two, leaving out important scenes and axing whole characters from the story, as well as killing others off early, he still managed to improve upon the original work threefold.

Mark Twain has his own opinions which I will be wise to leave to him. They can be read here, in his subtly titled Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses. If you have the time, I suggest reading it, if only because any amount of time can be spent in worse ways than reading Twain. His essay is more concerned with the rather peculiar physics that dominate the Cooperian landscape. I, slogging through the book in front of a campfire reading by lantern light, disregarded these literary conceits in self-defense, preferring to focus the greater part of my mental energies on remembering where one of the characters has been for the last fifty pages or so.

Last of the Mohicans is, by and large, an excellent story, when described to you by someone who has already read the book (or, sadly, seen the movie). Yes, the bad guy slips from the heroes fingers often enough that you assume he has a twirly mustache. Sure, it has a boat chase with canoes and the heroine gets kidnapped no less than three times. But the story’s there, and it’s interesting. It’s just a pity that Cooper has to be the one to tell it, in the sense that Cooper wrote American fiction the way that Charlotte Bronte would write a Western. Oh, the dialogue:

Hawkeye, on noticing a sniper in the trees:
"This must be looked to!" said the scout, glancing about him with an anxious eye. "Uncas, call up your father; we have need of all our we’pons to bring the cunning varment from his roost."

Duncan, in the same battle:
"That bullet was better aimed than common!" exclaimed Duncan, involuntarily shrinking from a shot which struck the rock at his side with a smart rebound.

People did not talk like this in 1757, nor did they in 1831, nor will they ever. This is because Cooper’s characters are not actually humans at all, but wound-up automatons whose sole function is to carry the story through its various settings and plot twists. Even then, the greatest potential that these twists present are wasted: the relationships between Alice and Duncan, Uncas and Cora, are glazed over, as though Cooper wasn’t interested in anything that didn’t include gunpowder. Romantic subplots have instead been persistently stuffed into the work by zealous critics, likely in attempt to give high school English teachers new ways to torture their students with subtext.
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LibraryThing member RebeccaGraf
Classic American stories are part of our lives. We read books on them, references in television series, and watch movies on them. But when we read the actual classic, we find that what we thought it was about is slightly different. The Last of the Mohicans is no different.

James Fenimore Cooper wrote a classic that is read in most schools across the country. It’s the story of 2 young English women on a journey to see their father who is a leader in the British Army. With an escort of British military and one native scout they find themselves ambushed. They are saved by a scout and 2 other natives. The fighting amongst the French, English, and native tribes gives Cooper a plethora of material for an intricate plot.

This proved to more difficult of a read than I remember from high school when I read it. Maybe it is because I’ve read so many more contemporary versions and watched movies. There are several scenes were the dialogue is only in French. Sorry, I know about three words in that language. Also, so much description was placed that I’d forget what was happening in the scene.

Now, I have to admit how movies ruined Cooper’s book for me. The movie with Daniel Daye Lewis was great. I loved it. When I just reread the book, I was so disappointed because the storyline is so different. The book has Alice and Duncan in love. The move has Hawkeye and Cora. There are many other differences, but I would be spoiling the reading experience.

If you have not read the book yet, try not to see any movies on it first. It will make the experience so much more enjoyable.

Note: This book was free as a public domain piece of literature.
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LibraryThing member gooneruk
This week, I finished The Last Of The Mohicans, which took me a bit longer than most books of that length. The writing was particularly dense and descriptive, so I wasn’t getting through as many pages as I would in a lighter book. I’ve not seen the film, so the whole story was new to me, which is always a bonus.

I really enjoyed this one, and it’s the first classic I’ve dipped into for a couple of months. It’s easy to lose yourself in the 18th century American wilderness, and the characters are well fleshed out. I’ll say this for Cooper: he can write battle scenes brilliantly. Every assault by Indians, or attempt to hold a position by the heroes, was captured in a manner which got my heart pounding from paragraph to paragraph, and put the images in my head as clearly as if I were standing in the middle of that forest.

Having said that, I thought the writing style as a whole was over-descriptive. I’m more of a fan of a more minimalist style, probably as a result of reading a lot of contemporary works. When writing gets too wordy, it can become difficult to get through and less enjoyable for me. That’s probably why this book was a bit of a slog each day.

Nevertheless, I’m glad I persevered. I tried to read this book years ago, when I was about 18 or something, and gave up after about 20 pages because it just didn’t grab me. It’s been sat on my shelf since, and it was definitely worth picking up again.
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LibraryThing member atimco
I haven't read James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans since high school and thought it would interesting to revisit, especially after seeing the move starring Daniel Day-Lewis. It certainly kept me reading, but it won't become a favorite for several reasons. Cooper seems to have been a man with a chip on his shoulder; his preface is rather combative and if you wish to see a snub there, you may.

I'm sure other reviewers have covered the racism angle of this story more thoroughly than I wish to. I'll just say, it's there but it's not unmitigated. Chingachgook and Uncas are certainly portrayed as heroes, and the rich figurative speeches Cooper puts in the mouths of all the Indian characters is simply beautiful. Not all the white characters are good, either; Montcalm comes in for some well-deserved reproach. But overall, if you want to enjoy this you have to overlook a lot.

And it's not just the racist undertones that you have to overlook. The improbable disguises that our heroes assume, dashing in and out of hostile villages without being recognized, stretch credulity just a bit far and render the story awkward. The heroines are, of course, astonishingly beautiful and delicate females whose small feet are noted several times as a sign of pure breeding. Cora has some backbone, but she seems a little unreal.

The movie is almost unrecognizable from its source. The love interests are thoroughly mixed up, people die who survived and survive who died, and by raising Hawk-eye to such prominence over his Delaware companions, the filmmakers caused the name of the film to no longer make much sense. And what a pity there was no room for the humor of David Gamut's character! In comparing the book to the film, there's some irony to be found in Cooper's preface, in which he says, "...it is a very unsafe experiment either for a writer or a projector to trust to the inventive powers of anyone but himself." How many other authors whose works have been adapted into films could say the same? At least it has a lovely soundtrack.

I see why this tale is still read and enjoyed, and I wouldn't say no to reading more of Cooper's stories. But it's flawed.
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LibraryThing member Misses_London
Difficult to adjust to the writing style? No doubt. Patience required even then? Yes. Nevertheless an artfully and skillfully accomplished novel? Absolutely.

This book is so descriptive and tedious in its setting because the merciless and rugged wilderness of N. American before colonisation and Europeans ultimately conquered it was in and of itself one of the primary characters in the novel, just as important as that of the Mohicans, their Indian foes, and the white settlers. While it's a work of fiction, in order to fully understand the tale, it forced me to educate myself on the history of the French-Indian War, most of which it appears I'd forgotten.

I'd recommend this book to those interested in the history of colonisation of N. American and certainly anyone interested in Native American culture and the clash between it and the white settlers. A beautiful piece of work.
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LibraryThing member jolerie
The title of the story pretty much sums up the main storyline. The Last of the Mohicans is surprise, about the last of the Mohicans. Well if you want to be technical, it's about the last two Mohicans, a Father and his Son, but based on the title of the story, you can pretty much guess what happens at the end.
The story is centred around two sisters, Cora and Alice who are the daughters of a British General. They are travelling back to meet up with their Father at one of the British trading posts when they are betrayed by an Indian guide (antagonist) who is supposed to show them they way through the wilderness. Long story short, the girls are caught and then freed and then caught again (this happens multiple times) and during this whole time, the Mohicans and their friend, the Scout (I am assuming he is British as well) who are the protagonist of the story are in constant pursuit to rescue these two damsels from the perils of their captors - the savages.

As with so many other classics that I've read in the past, the first couple of chapters are always the most laborious to read as it takes me some time to catch onto the idioms and the language that these books usually take. I often find that I am reading the same paragraphs multiple times in order to wrap my mind around what the author is trying to convey. Overall The Last of the Mohicans was a pleasant enough read. There were certain portions of the book that keep me going while other parts rather dragged (after the second rescue and capture, it got rather annoying), and my mind would start wandering. With a little dash of adventure and a smidgeon of romance, the story passed relatively quickly for the most part. If you are a lover of Classics then I would definitely give this book a chance, but otherwise, for most readers, I think time could be better spent elsewhere.
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LibraryThing member john257hopper
This novel is set in 1757 during the Seven Years War when Britain and France battled for control of North America. It is very well written, with evocative descriptions of the landscape, and portrays the multi-faceted life of the various tribes of North American "Red Indians", depicting Native American characters in way in a way that no significant American had done before. There are, of course, still examples of the language of the time (published in 1826) that we wouldn't use today ("savages" vs. "civilised men"), but he portrays a rich variety of characters, including the central character, the young and heroic Uncas and his dignified father Chingachgook, and the villainous Magua; compared to these, the white European-American characters are much blander, particularly the sisters Cora and Alice, who are depicted as beautiful bland ciphers, as young female characters so often were in 19th century literature on both sides of the Atlantic. Between them is the figure of Hawkeye/Natty Bumppo, a white man raised by Delaware Indians, able to act as a bridge between the two cultures. The action of the novel revolves around the rescue of Cora and Alice from the clutches of the Hurons who have kidnapped them, and contains some impressive and violent set pieces, involving much scalping. There were passages where my interest waned, nevertheless this is deservedly an early classic of American literature.… (more)
LibraryThing member SweetbriarPoet
I think people get mad at this book because it is written in the romantic style. Of course there is lofty language, of course it is strewn with figurative language and idealistic undertones. In fact, that is what made the novel revolutionary (not to mention an unseen-before anthropologist's cultural relativity..sort of.) If you don't like sentimentalism...then don't read fiction from the romantic period in America. And by romantic I don't mean love, I mean a deference to natural surroundings and a higher appreciation for artistry and sentimentalism.

The characters are well developed, believable in that larger-than-life way. There is a proper hero, a fallen woman, an epic grace to the way the story flows. War and adventure is at the forefront, and a there is a hint of travel, journey, experience. To anyone who understands why historic literature is the way it is, I recommend this four star book.
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LibraryThing member hvhay
I really did not enjoy this at all. The characters were one dimensional and the plot was boring as well as unbelievable. I understand that Cooper had a pretty high opinion of his writing but I don't think the books have stood the test of time.
LibraryThing member keylawk
James Fenimore Cooper was the first financially successful American novelist. Of course, he had the help of a large inheritance from his father who was a judge and real estate developer, and from his wife's estates. Cooper was prolific and popular but a controversial character -- outspoken and often engaged in bitter law suits against journalists, all of which he "won".

In his historical novels, Cooper introduced frontiersmen ("Leatherstocking"), folk-tales and sea-farers. He also recycled rifacimento's and political tracts, all of varied quality. The Mohican novel is considered his best work.

Cooper draws this tragic narrative against the deep forested valleys and mountains of upstate New York, still newly being explored by the colonials in the late 1700s. Even as late as 1836 when Cooper penned the work, the Wilderness was not only written large, it still existed in his day, unlike in ours. Cooper captures the fundamental emotions and pleasures of a grand and "untamed" Wilderness and inhabitants "untutored" by the specialized classes of urbanity.

Interestingly, the early 18th century imagination which Cooper illustrates with his descriptions of awesome Wilderness, its terrible beauty, and comforting pastorals, was also served in the same year (1757) by the publication of Edmund Burke's Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. Burke also marks the importance of landscape to our sense of sublimity.

The Mohicans is one of the five frontier tales of "Leatherstocking" Natty Bumppo, a half-breed who straddles the European and Native American cultures. As historical fiction it brings cultural conflict, and the French and Indian War, in the regions of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks in 1757, to life.

Cooper made many "mistakes" in confusing the Mohecan and Mohigan names, and the Mohicans (Muh-he-ka-ne-ok), including the Wappingers and Housatonics, all parts of the Mohican Nation, are not extinct today. Of course, like ALL tribal people, they have suffered. And many tribes did face extinction, at the hand of the immigrant hordes as well as their ancient "enemies". Cooper assimilates some of the stories from the annhihilation of the Hurons at the hands of the Iroquois Confederacy. The Mohican Nations had been decimated by 50 years of warfare with the Mohawks of that Confederacy. The cross-cultural dynamics the novelist describes are true, maugre the details.

Cooper also introduced the Mohican word "wigwam", and the idea of a Thanksgiving feast, ultimately adopted by the Americans -- many of whom, we now know from DNA studies, are in fact direct descendants of the squaw-men from the woodlands. O

Of particular significance today is the great love of Nature, the sense of the primeval, which Cooper invokes in this portrait of life in the woodlands.
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
My favorite of the series, when I read this it moved me greatly.

One has to be in the proper mood to enjoy these books. A bit of romance, a bit of adventure, quite a bit of moralizing. I enjoyed them when I read them, but have no desire to read them again. I've since read enough history to realize just how fictional these are. If you read them for the adventure and the descriptions of the Northeastern woodlands, I don't think you will be disappointed. Sadly, the plot of each has sort of blended together and I can't remember the details of any.… (more)
LibraryThing member wyvernfriend
It really isn't quite my kind of the thing but it is an interesting read. It's littered with things that show a lot about the world it was written in and the life on the frontier. The women seem to be there to be rescued and honestly I preferred the film rather than the story. If I had read it when I was in my teens I might regard it in the same way as Kim and revisit occasionally but while it's something I don't regret reading, it's not one I will be hunting up to add to the collection.

It's very wordy, very detailed and a story that is more about the frontier than the people. I can see how it influenced many writers but I can also see how it is disliked by many people today.
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LibraryThing member holden09
I was forced to read this book over the summer going into 10th grade for my AP European History class. Reading a long, painful book, based on information that I am far from interested in was torture. I tried to find some amusement out of it by reading the pages at different paces, reading out loud, walking and reading, anything. This was the summer I was trying to begin my respect and passion for books so I was trying to find something positive out of the book. I almost gave up a few times, but I stuck with it and read it to the last, painful page. I wrote an awful essay without considering to revise it because I was so eager to throw the book in the back of my closet and let the dust infest it, because that's where it belonged. Fortunetely for me, I earned a 95 on the essay but the book did not broaden my interest for reading nor did it introduce the AP European History class with hope. It turned out that class mirrored the summer reading assignment; it was the most dreadful class I have ever taken. Like the book, I learned the least amount and I was least interested. I do not recommend The Last of the Mohicans for anyone.… (more)
LibraryThing member Cinderella17
This is an amazing book. James Fenimore Cooper uses beautiful imagistic language to create a natural virtually untouched picture of the beauty of the new American lands. The story is exciting and fast-paced, as well as an important commentary on society of the day. The character Cora helps to present many important racial issues. Cooper reveals to us, through the defensiveness of her father, Colonel Monroe, that Cora's mother was black. This mixed-race status was something very controversial at the time, but, through the portrayal of Cora as a thoughful, intelligent, and noble woman, Cooper argues that being half-black does not diminish or even effect at all the value of a person, as was a common stereotype at the time. Also, Cora falls in love with the Mohican Indian, Uncas. This relationship is highly controversial, as Indians were greatly looked down upon. However, throughout the novel, Cooper develops the variety of characters who are Indians to represent a variety of different people, from heroic and selfless Uncas to wise Chingachgook to clever and develish Maugua. This range of characters helps to dispel the stereotype that all Indians are deceptive and violent.… (more)
LibraryThing member Sebass
Last of the Mohicans

It is 1828, and Last of the Mohicans has just been published. James Fenimore Cooper scored 114 offences against literary art out of a possible 115. Up until that point no one had gotten such a terrible rating. Even though the book was “considered” to be bad, I found it to be an extremely compelling novel. He touches on the ever popular topic of family but at the same time on interracial love, which was a very racy and touchy topic. Most of all, the theme of religion and the act of being civilized in an uncivilized surrounding and the trials that men face against nature.
During the 19th century the concept of family was very popular. For women it fell along the lines of, you respect your parents and you marry a rich man. Yet, this traditional concept was not an option in the book due to their location. Cora and Uncas do fall in love but the ability to change the traditional family values for either of them is simply not a possibility. In Last of the Mohicans combines the themes of family values and race and how sometimes they are not always such clear lines. What was even more interesting is the fact the family values in Europe are based upon Christianity which happened to be to a comic relief in our story.
Gamut was the identified as religious throughout novel and was constantly mocked by Hawkeye (who was a father figure for Uncas). Gamut’s concept of pre-destination was consistently put down for its ridiculousness. This shows us the religion really doesn’t have a place in the wild. The wild is its own entity and cannot be controlled by a simple faith. As our story progresses we see that things that seemed impossible, were possible with the assistance of Gamut which in turn is the reader showing us that destiny can be changed with the right assistance.
Nature also plays a big role in the development of our characters, even from the beginning to the very end. The laws of civilization and religion sometimes do not apply to the forest, and some people back them had a hard time coping with that. Nature is seen as an iron willed entity with a soul. It breaks men to its choosing a forces them to return to their natural instincts. Colonel Munro touches on how men are no longer just fighting their enemies; they are battling the terrain too. European style combat will not work in the Americas for it presents a whole new set of challenge.
So even though our author received one of the most critical ratings of his time (114/115, 115/115 being the worst), Last of the Mohicans still incorporates very important values and themes. Especially for a novel which was published in 1826.
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LibraryThing member aiufjcf
This would've been a lot better book had they not interupted the action parts with long dialouge. Still, pretty good.
LibraryThing member janemarieprice
I had a hard time getting into this book. It is a very interesting plot but the manner in which it is written made it pretty tedious for me. I also felt like things dragged on a bit much.
LibraryThing member choochtriplem
I was a history major in college and even studied much about the French and Indian War. The movie of the same title is great, so I thought the book would be worth a read. I was very, very wrong. The book is a long and rather awful read. I hate to say such bad things about a famous American novel and writer, but the story just did not make much sense sometimes and the narrative was long and very hard to read. If you like the movie, the story is completely different. It may be worth a read if you have the time.… (more)
LibraryThing member TheTwoDs
Cooper's famous tale of the white scout Hawkeye (aka Natty Bumppo aka La Longue Carabine) who has forsaken the growing materialism of "civilized" society to live amongst the natives in the woods of 18th century New York offers what should have been a lively tale of adventure. The year is 1757, the French and Indian War rages in North America, both the British and French having their own Indian allies. The daughters of a British commander, Munro, must travel from Fort Edward to Fort William Henry, guided by a Huron whom their father trusts. That Huron, Magua, turns out to be an ersatz ally of the French commander Montcalm. Hawkeye and his companions, father and son Chingachgook and Uncas, rescue the daughters, Cora and Alice. They lose them to Magua and his band of Huron. They rescue them again. Then, when they finally arrive at Fort William Henry, it is nearly too late as the French have it under a ferocious siege. Munro surrenders the fort to Montcalm who lets the British troops retreat to Fort Edward. Magua has other designs and attacks and massacres the British, yet again kidnapping the Munro girls.

The racial and gender views of the time are repeatedly brought forth in the narrative, and this is not just Cooper regurgitating beliefs from 100 years prior to his writing. In the preface, Cooper himself states that women should not read his book as they won't like it, it's too manly. On practically every other page, Hawkeye, while treating his two Delaware as of his own family, reminds his white companions and the reader that his blood has no cross, meaning no cross-contamination with native blood. After a dozen or so instances, it gets incredibly trying seeing it on the page again and again.

Somewhere inside is a great adventure story, but you have to get through a multitude of asides, 18th century racial philosophy that is repeatedly placed in the reader's face and a density of language beyond the usual anachronistics of early 19th century literature. It still, however, retains its place in literary history as one of the earliest examples of the American novel.
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LibraryThing member cmbohn
This is one of those icons of American literature that everyone has heard about, but not everyone gets around to actually reading. I don't know why I had never picked it up before, unless maybe I read something of Cooper's in school and didn't enjoy it. But I decided to see for myself what it was all about.

Despite my expectations, the book was pretty easy to read. There were a few times when I skimmed through, especially towards the end, but there was a lot of action and the story was interesting. It is quite different from modern books in a couple of ways. First, the dialogue. Nobody speaks like that! In fact, I doubt they ever spoke like that! Usually it was just sort of one of those things you read and don't think about, but a couple of times it actually brought me back out of the story, especially when Hawkeye would use some dialectal spelling of a word which didn't need any spelling change in the first place. So that was sometimes disconcerting.

The other major shift is the whole 'noble savage' thing. See, it starts with these two sisters who are daughters of an English - well, Scottish major, who is defending a fort from some French soldiers and Indians. They want to travel from one fort to another to meet him. They get captured, and lost, and rescued, and then arrive and a bunch more adventures ensue. They are rescued by Hawkeye and his two companions, both Mohicans. Somehow, there's all this stuff in there that translates into Bad Indian versus Good Indian. It's all pretty dated. If you ask me, none of them were all that noble! What's with all the scalping and dashing babies brains out? But Uncas and his father, the two Mohicans, were certainly more the heroic type. I just have to wonder how much of this is romanticized, and I think the answer is, most of it. It was still a good story, but I think modern readers would find it a little hard to puzzle out. I was helped a lot by sparknotes.com and their reader's guide. 3 stars because it is a good story, but it's not really told in a way that I loved.
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LibraryThing member HankIII
Fenimore writes with sentimental flair which can certainly annoy and irritate:1) the lofty narrative tone 2) the ornate convoluted language 3) the unconvincing dialogue 4) the unconvincing, one-dimensional characterization, and these are all there to repell any reader.However, there were times in my reading that I no longer had that plodding feeling, and I contribute that loss of annoyance to a few factors as the plot unfolded.The setting: I found Fenimore’s description of the lush and dense foliage, the mountains, and the landscape of the early upper state New York wilderness as interesting and detailed, serving as a convincing foundation and revealing it as very much an obstacle in the French and Indian War. The culture: Fenimore delves into the various customs and tribal politics of the Hurons and Delawares. Yes, the scalping is all there, but it's the inter-personal relationships and how they are dealt with between Chigachgook and the Hurons. And of course, Hawkeye, clearly a man who has cast off civilation, preferring to live with the confines of the wilderness where contamination of western society are far and few between. When the sentimental language tended to be a bit much (which was frequent) I would remind myself that the novel was geared toward entertaining current readers of that time (with no i-pods and computers, something to bear in mind). There were a few times in the novel I found myself confused to what was happening, but strove on. I can't say this was an enjoyable read; I can say it was an unusual reading experience, and for the most part a painless one. It could have been worse--it could have been Faulkner. I actually have a desire to read the rest of The Leather Stocking Tales.… (more)
LibraryThing member HenryG
Having to read this in high school is one of the things that made me think I hated to read. I'm sure there are those for whom this is their cup of tea, but it should never be inflicted on high school students! It seemed like it was about a guy who walked around in the woods for hundreds of pages. Granted, my experience with it might be different as an adult, but I don't see myself trying again with this one.… (more)
LibraryThing member Kristelh
The Last of the Mohicans
by James Fenimore Cooper
Published 1826
Pages: 416
Genre: Fiction, historical romance
My copy: kindle/☊, narrated by Larry McKeever.
Rating ★ ★ ★ 1/2

Story of the Seven Year War of 1757. Frontiersman, Hawkeye and his Native American friend Uncas, along with David Gamut, the singing teacher, and Major Duncan Heyward, the group's military leader set off to rescue the two Munro sisters who have been taken captive. This author is one of the first to include Native American's in his writing and he does a good job of respecting their culture. There is the suggestion of interracial marriage in the story which would have been quite controversial and maybe also was the reason for his popularity. I think his book might have been one of the very first to make this suggestion. While it is a historical novel and also a novel about a people, there are some inaccuracies. The author's prose is not easy to read. Audio made it better and McKeever had a fine voice but the quality of the audio was poor. I had an echo and also the transitions were quite obvious. Twain criticized Cooper as being a spendthrift as far as his use of words.
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LibraryThing member jpsnow
Such a timely work, I enjoyed twice as much -- it stands on it's own as a classic, and moreso to me as historic fiction. An enjoyable read. I read it in between two books about writing and it served as a good case study of character, plot, etc. Just after finishing it, I read Rita Mae Brown's "Starting from Scratch," in which she references it with regard to Cooper's showing such depth in the relationship between men (the Scout and the Sagamore and Uncas), while leaving the women (Cora and Alice) completely two-dimensional. In fairness to Cooper, the story was more about the men and their role, but a look at the women's (as well as the indian women's) personality could have added some interesting perspective. Finally, I enjoyed it in accompaniment to the genealogical research of my family in that area at that time. Great interaction between the three principal men. It's an adventure story, but Cooper makes you feel the Scout's heartfelt philosophy and Chingachgook's people.… (more)
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